At the age of twenty-one, New York Pianist Julian Waterfall Pollack has the jazz community abuzz with his mature, technically ferocious, and dynamic piano playing. A classically trained pianist, Pollack has unleashed into the world a singular blend of music that combines his love for today’s popular music styles and a respect for the classical tradition.
On his aptly-titled debut recording, Goin’ For It (Jazzschool Records, 2006) San Jose Mercury News critic Andrew Gilbert writes: “Pollack may have started Goin’ For It as a student, but with the completion of his first album, he has earned the right to teach some lessons of his own.” The opening tracks “Take Me Outside” and “Valeria” may well be a contrast in style, but they are more clearly an indication of his compositional breadth. His “re-imagining the jazz standard” repertory include a new melodic and rhythmic structure in the pop music idiom of Miles Davis’ “Four,” and a re-harmonization of John Coltrane’s famously complex “Giant Steps.” After the release of Goin’ For It, JAZZIZ Magazine selected the high-octane original, "Take Me Outside," to be on its monthly CD series, JAZZIZ On Disc (October 2006). In late 2007, Pollack released his first solo piano album, Solitude, on Junebeat Records.
Among his many accomplishments, Pollack has been featured on Marian McPartland’s renowned NPR show, Piano Jazz. On May 5th, 2010, he will open for Chick Corea with his trio at the Blue Note in New York City. He also has performed and or recorded with the likes of Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton, Miguel Zenon, Eric Harland, George Garzone, and Ari Hoenig. Pollack has performed at prestigious venues such as Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, The Jazz Gallery, Smalls Jazz Club, Yoshi’s, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, and, and international festivals including Montreux, Umbria, Salt Lake City, and Monterey. Pollack is also the recipient of numerous prestigious national awards, such as the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA) Level One Gold Prize and member of its Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Stars, Down Beat’s Student Music Award for “Outstanding High School Jazz Instrumental Group” (2004, 2005), as well as 1st Place, Combo Division in consecutive years (2005, 2006) and “Outstanding Soloist” three years running (2004, 2005, 2006) at Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Festival. Pollack attended Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California and was the principal pianist of the Award-Winning Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble and was the leader of the Award-Winning Combos. He served as the principal pianist for the San Francisco Bay Area's preeminent honors youth ensemble, the SFJAZZ All-Star High School Ensemble, for his four high school years, making him the very first “full-scholarship” student of the program. The mayor of San Francisco himself, Gavin Newsom, gave Pollack a signed document, thanking him for the “countless hours of community service” in music-making and mentoring he gave to the San Francisco Bay Area. Pollack also has served on the faculty of the Jazzschool in Berkeley during their Summer Jazz Camp series.
In his junior year of high school, Pollack was awarded a full-scholarship to Berkelee College of Music in Boston. Deciding instead to move to New York City, he attended New York University and earned a degree in jazz piano performance and composition.
Recently, Pollack recorded a new record—his second trio release—entitled “Infinite Playground.” The record features fellow Berkeley High alums Noah Garabedian on bass and Evan Hughes on drums. They will be on tour celebrating the new release during the summer and fall of 2010.